CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte ranks ninth on Orkin's 2024 list of the top 50 cities with the most bed bugs, based on the pest control company's treatment data tracked from December 2022 to November 2023. 

Across the country, Greensboro ranks 18th and the Raleigh-Durham area ranks 24th on the list.

What You Need To Know

  • Pest control company Orkin ranks Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham in the top 25 cities/areas in the nation for most bed bug cases 
  • Greensboro saw the largest jump, moving up 25 spots since last year 
  • Chicago, New York and Philadelphia top the list

Bed bugs are considered a traveling pest, hitching a ride on luggage, clothes, purses and backpacks, making their way into hotels and homes.

Jay Patel is co-founder of Hotel Refuge in Charlotte. With a 100 sanitation rating hanging on the wall in the five-room pilot hotel, he says he and the staff work hard to ensure bed bugs and other pests and rodents are something guests don't encounter.

"We're comfortable knowing it's not a dangerous or harmful pest, but nevertheless, we do our best to make sure nobody ever has to interact with them," Patel said.

The hotel operator says in the rare event a guest brings in bed bugs, that room and any rooms beside the infested one, would be out of service until the room is treated.

Patel says his staff check for bed bugs as part of standard protocol, like changing the sheets between guests. Each room has a protective mattress cover and mattress pad underneath the fitted sheet.

"There is a zipper that goes around the corner, and so nothing can kind of get in and out of this — getting as many levels of barriers as we can," Patel said. 

He says when checking into hotels, or at home, people can check the corner creases and seams of the mattress, which is where bed bugs hang out during the day before exploring the other areas of the mattress at night. 

"Once you can clear that, you generally can be rest assured that there's nothing in that sleeping area," Patel said.

Orkin recommends following the acronym S.L.E.E.P. when staying in hotels:

  • S-survey the room for signs of infection
  • L-lift and look in beg bed hiding spots
  • E-elevate luggage away from the bed and wall
  • E-examine your luggage carefully while repacking
  • P-put all dryer-safe clothing in the dryer once you return on the highest setting for 30-45 minutes